Monday, December 19, 2011

Superhero Movies.

Since the late 1930s comic books have given us fictional superheroes, such as Batman and Iron Man. It wasn’t long until movies were made out of these stories. During the 1940s and 1950s, superheroes were shown in movie serials, which were made to compete against television. By the late 1950s, there were no more serials, there was instead a live action Superman show starring George Reeves.
            After Reeves’s tragic and mysterious death in 1959, the Superman show was cancelled and only two pilots related to Superman were made again, but neither aired. It wasn’t until 1966, when Adam West portrayed Batman in the campy TV show, that superheroes started being interesting again. The show lasted for three seasons, with a feature length film made between seasons one and two. After the show’s cancellation, it was years before an unknown actor made audiences believe that a man could truly fly.
            This actor was Christopher Reeve, and he starred in the first modern superhero film, Superman the Movie. Co-starring Oscar winners Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando, and directed by The Omen’s Richard Donner, the movie, which went on to receive universal acclaim and box-office success, had, like many successful movies, a troubled production, but went on to be Warner Brothers’ biggest film at the time. After three sequels and a spinoff with Supergirl in the 1980s, many believed that it would be impossible to make another successful comic book movie. That was until a certain dark Caped Crusading detective changed all that and defied the same odds as Superman.
            That hero was Batman in the 1989 movie, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as Batman, Kim Basinger as Vicky Vale, and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. After the success of this film and it’s sequels the superhero movie was secured as a genre that’s staying. Others success stories include the Spider-Man films, the X-Men films, RED, and Captain America, and there are high hopes for an upcoming Superman and Batman movie scheduled to be released in 2016, along with more Marvel Cinematic films, a Justice League movie, and Deadpool.
             What makes these films so special is that they represent our modern mythologies, stories telling of heroes and their deeds similar to those of the Greek heroes like Hercules or even King Arthur. They way Marvel is telling its movies and shows is something unique and what so many have wanted, especially those who had been attending Comic-Con for decades.